Individual Cheeseless Margherita-Style Pizza

Personalized cheeseless vegetable pizza

Personalized cheeseless vegetable pizza

This colorful vegetable pizza is quick to prepare and filled with flavor. Preheat conventional or toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while assembling. Begin with Naan or unleavened flat bread. This recipe would be vegan if not for the possible ingredients used in Naan. Our naan is local but contains “DATEM”, which is an acronym for bread conditioners often containing animal ingredients.
Coat the bread of choice with just enough tomato sauce so as not to become soggy. Pesto is an excellent alternative!

Sauce covered bread.

Sauce covered bread.

Heap a generous portion of sautéed vegetables on top. I often choose the same selection of easy to come by garden veggies because I like them. These veggies were previously prepared and seasoned with intention for future entrees, like this one.

Add thick tomato slices or small wedges. Heirloom varieties, like this Black Krim, are known for their meaty texture, therefore; withstand heat well. Heirloom varieties contain higher levels of effective lycopene antioxidants, demonstrating a reduction of blood platelet aggregation. Our tomatoes were not ripening in the cool summer nights so I brought them indoors to save them from both animals and the elements, but only after a hint of color first appeared. This is the formation of lycopene, which continues to develop from the inside out.

Fresh Black Krim Heirloom Tomato

Fresh Black Krim Heirloom Tomato

Garnish with fresh basil to bring forth the flavor of these mouthwatering tomatoes.

Fresh plucked basil complements the sweet tomato.

Fresh plucked basil complements the sweet tomato.

Finally, grind black pepper overall to taste. We use a Turkish coffee grinder as our pepper mill, for a fine dusting of a tri-color blend.

Grind pepper blend to taste

Grind pepper blend to taste

Bake briefly at 400 degrees F directly on top oven rack for just a few minutes. The finished product will be hot all the way through and the bread becomes slightly crisp while remaining flexible. Try different sauces and toppings to suit your individual palate and needs, because it’s all YOURS.

Now that I have fed myself, I will go feed the tomatoes. They are still growing!

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Celebrating 150 historic years of healing with heart

Apothecary - Materia Medica

Reflections of the “Prince of Wales” Hotel in the equally historic “Niagara Apothecary”.

The Prince of Wales Hotel Restaurant and Spa celebrates 150 consecutive years of health and romance.  A short drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake (N-O-T-L) from Cleveland & nearby surrounding Great Lakes areas make it easily accessible. The Prince of Wales Hotel is sharing its year-long birthday observance with lovely Valentine’s packages making it the heartbeat of this historic town.  General Manager of this landmark Inn, Kelly Exelby, has arranged to celebrate with class, offering promotional packages blending luxury accommodations with four star rated dining for a sensual experience.

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Escabeche Restaurant at the Prince of Wales Hotel

The Hotel’s restaurant, Escabeche, boasts a sophisticated ‘Tasting Menu’ optimized by award-winning wines from the excellent local vineyards – “A culinary adventure to tempt your palate and satiate your desire.” The dining room is thoughtfully arranged with intimate seating providing privacy for a peaceful and leisurely dining experience proven to be digestively beneficial. Upon scheduling reservations and being seated, professional servers inquire if there are any dietary considerations or special requests. Escabeche designs a menu to meet your individual health needs.

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“Fall Vegetable & Upper Canada Ricotta Cheese Cannelloni”

Original dishes are kindly created with the freshest available ingredients from local resources. Every meal is therapeutic, positively stimulating all senses and further enhancing their notable “Secret Garden Spa” services. Menu modifications are not only willingly made, but suggested or recommended to meet specified health requirements. Chef welcomes challenges and understands food’s nourishing properties. Pictured dishes feature mushrooms like the chanterelle, chosen for their use in medical mycology. The Restaurant team will tap into additional menus from the adjoining “Churchill Lounge” to share ingredients for a personalized experience. Veteran ‘Garcon de Table’, Brad Kempsder, invitingly exclaims, “Let’s build something together.”

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Signature “Churchill Coffee”

The Churchill Lounge invites you to relax around the hearth and warm your heart with a cup of traditionally brewed high tea or their signature beverage, “Churchill Coffee”.  I have frequented the Churchill lounge over the years and enjoyed satisfying meals, indoors and out.  There is no limit to this condensed menu carefully crafted from the same fresh, locally grown ingredients characteristic of the Prince of Wales.

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Live musical entertainment at the Churchill Lounge

The palpable ambience vibrates with harmonic resonance while being treated to live, classic acoustic entertainment.

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Private cottage up the mews from the Hotel

Every peaceful, private room greets you like a big hug.  Each room is uniquely decorated inspiring the rich Victorian style in keeping with its 1864 establishment.

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Luxury accommodations

The Prince of Wales staff’s unparalleled services demonstrate their attention to detail. Fresh fruit and water upon arrival to your room, a fragrant rose bud placed on your pillow with care at evening ‘turn-down’ and handcrafted bath salts positioned on the private Jacuzzi tubs procure a personal touch. Accommodations are appointed with heated towel holders in the elegant and spacious bathrooms, adding to your memorable experience.

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Signature healing salts

Overlooking Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the Niagara peninsula just down river from Niagara Falls.  The area is surrounded by water generating energy, lending to this therapeutic theme.  The Prince of Wales amenities include a chemical-free indoor salt water swimming pool and hot tub, a vantage point from which to watch the weather overhead through the wall of windows.

Therapeutic effects

Salt water pool

BAPoWLobby

“Secret Garden” themed Hotel Lobby at the Prince of Wales

The pool room is above the “Secret Garden Spa”, whose tranquil facilities include a plethora of professional spa services, relaxation lounge with the promise of serenity.  Massage and regular exercise promote healthy parasympathetic activity by reducing blood pressure and heart rate, ameliorating cardiovascular disease. Homeostatic imbalances precipitate illness by compromising immune function. Adaptogenic herbs and foods also inhibit excessive catecholamine release substantiating the importance of complementary relaxation therapies.

Evening at the Prince of Wales

Evening at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Restaurant and Spa

The Prince of Wales Hotel Restaurant and Spa is located on the Main Street in downtown N-O-T-L, accessible by foot en route to shops, parks, The Shaw Theater, golf course, marina and several historic sites, expanding a refreshing exercise work-out.  An optional service provides transportation to wineries for care-free tastings!  For a more romantic adventure, a horse-drawn carriage is available just outside the door.

Evening at the Prince of Wales

Savory summer strawberry herb vinaigrette

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Salad dressing recipe best on bed of mixed greens, walnuts and fresh strawberry halves

This surprising, zesty dressing brightens salads and stimulates the senses.  A versatile dressing or marinade, mere modifications change from a tart version to a sweeter, savory sauce that can stand up to poultry, game and some fish.  This recipe was developed to satisfy recent cravings for homegrown ingredients plucked fresh from the garden.

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Recommended fresh ingredients

  • ½ C. rice bran oil
  • 1/3 C. apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar, or fresh key lime juice
  • 1 ½ -2 C. washed strawberries
  • 1Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/8 C. fresh basil leaves (cinnamon basil works well)
  • 1/8 C. fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp. “Reunion Pink” peppercorns
  • Dash of “Penzey’s Baking Spice” or fresh ground cinnamon for depth.

Add all ingredients simultaneously and pulse or blend on high for 10-15 seconds

These fresh, whole foods and savory herbs offer antimicrobial properties and contain water soluble vitamins addressing several common conditions faced today.  Some may argue that an oil-free diet must be maintained when considering cardiovascular conditions.  Others proclaim fermented foods, like vinegars, are detrimental.  In moderation, this preparation is a condiment to enhance flavors, not intended as a meal.  Rice bran oil acts as a nutraceutical, featuring tocotrienols that share a similar tocopherol chemical structure belonging “…to the vitamin E family and are powerful natural antioxidants (Tomeo et al., 1995).”

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Strawberry blossoms

Strawberries are naturally abundant and refreshing during the late spring and summer months.   An effective antioxidant reducing blood pressure, strawberries are high in vitamin C and fortify blood due to iron content.  Strawberries (and apple cider vinegar) contain pectin that reduces painful arthritic inflammation by eliminating uric acid accumulation in joints, causing the painful crystallization of synovial fluid.  Strawberries are a naturally sweet and satisfying fibrous food source.  Allergic reactions to strawberries may be life threatening so take extreme caution.

Gingersnap Pancakes

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These pancakes are a cheerful way to brighten your day.  Made with wholesome gluten free and dairy free ingredients, this recent formulation is a combination of a craving and recipe by Actress Dee Maaske, prepared for the “Hersey House” Shakespearean Festival, 451 N. Main St., Ashland Oregon, 97520, from The Bed and Breakfast Cookbook by Pamela Lanier.  “Had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread.” William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

A potent medicinal herb for over two thousand years, ginger has more evidenced-based uses and treatments that are being discovered.  Ginger tends to have an additive affect with commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals coincidentally, for the same conditions ginger is effective.

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Traditional, healthy molasses ginger cakes

The minerals in organic, unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses potentiate natural nutrient absorption.   This whole food source is abundant with iron, making it the best form for treating anemia.  This type of molasses ranks surprisingly low on the glycemic index with a versatile delivery.

As an added treat and healthy benefit, I ground my own steel-cut oats with the high powered Vita-Mix®.  The critical B vitamins in the groat are retained in this minimal process.  The product is somewhat crumbly from the absence of gluten with a notable texture, and yet, light.

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Tools of the pancake trade

Sift together:

  • 1.5 C. Oat bran Flour
  • 1C. Brown Rice Flour
  • 5tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1tsp. Baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Penzey’s Cake Spice
  • ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
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Blended ginger-molasses pancake batter

Combine wet ingredients:

  • 2 Lightly beaten Eggs
  • 1.5 C. Almond Milk (Vanilla)
  • ¼ C. Unsulphured Black Strap Molasses

Stir adding wet to dry ingredients. Blend until moistened. 

 

Cook on a hot griddle.

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Griddle-hot, ready-to-flip “Gingersnap Pancakes”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gluten-free, anti-inflammatory ‘Gingersnap Pancakes topped with sliced bananas

 

 

 

 

*Add raisins, chopped nuts, sliced bananas preserves or chips.

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Carob chip dotted maple syrup glazed ‘Gingersnap Pancakes’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dotted mine with dairy free carob chips, which aren’t so bad when coated with maple syrup.  For a real “wake-up call”, try topping with Rosemary Gladstar’s “Zoom Balls”.  I’m sure they can be made into any desired shape so as not to roll off onto the floor!

The result exemplifies my mission to create likable, therapeutic foods.  Eating high quality, whole foods is a proactive way to participate in our own care to maintain optimal health.

There is a lot of conflicting, mixed information regarding gluten-free foods.  In the case of a true allergic reaction or positive Celiac disease diagnosis through testing, be aware cross-contamination can occur during the processing of oats, rice bran and other originally gluten-free grains.  Take necessary precautions and know of your ingredients’ origins.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Sun Infusions

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Sun infused tisane

Celebrate the Summer season with sun-steeped teas.  These light, bright and refreshing recipes are designed to nourish and hydrate our bodies throughout the year.

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Gathered botanicals

I formulated this equation as a framework on which to build a balanced blend.

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Selected plants to steep

  • 1 tsp. Base with earthy or woody constituents.
  • 2-3 tsp. Flavor with fruits and/or florals
  • 1-2 tsp. Green or White tea Leaves for antioxidant properties.

This is a mere suggestion I have found to work well for a full and satisfying, albeit therapeutic infusion.  When using fresh plants, be certain the plants have not been sprayed and are safe to drink.  Some florals are not intended for consumption and other aerial plant parts are toxic.  Stick with pre-packaged tea bags and commercial loose teas to get the feel for creating the perfect blend.  Eventually, this will become second nature as you spend more time with the plants themselves.  You will instinctively choose flavors and herbs that will address your needs, similar to why our bodies develop cravings.

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Various commercial teas and blends

I am a fan of “Traditional Medicinals” brand teas; herbal infusions naturally designed to address symptoms.

v  1 Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos

v  2 Black Cherry or Dark Berry

v  1 “Fusion red, white & blueberry tea

v  1 “Traditional Medicinals PMS” blend

v  2 Echinacea Elder by “Traditional Medicinals”

v  1-2 “Fusion red, white & blueberry”

v  2 Orange Spice

v  1 “Traditional Medicinals Think-Q Ginko”

v  1 white tea

v  1 Earl Grey (fermented black tea)  “Twinings” is known for safe, high quality

v  2 “Gypsy Cold Care” by “Traditional Medicinals”

v  1 white tea

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Cheerful florals for tisanes

Give botanical tisanes a try like these fresh growing flowers and herbs whilst it is summertime:

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Spicy Oregano

v  Lavender/Anise Hyssop and Rose Petals

v  Spearmint/Spicy oregano

v  Lemon Thyme/Lavender.

v  Hibiscus or Jasmine

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Anise biscuits & sugared lemon rind Compliments of Inn Walden

Potentiate the potion with dried plants and commercial blends to substantiate these fresh infusions.

Enjoy slow infusions extracted by the sun as well as a steeped, freshly brewed cup.  Be it the Summer or Winter solstice, stay safe and healthy all year long with home brewed infusions, regardless of your hemisphere.

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High Tea
Compliments of Inn Walden

Planting Heirloom Tomatoes for Father’s Day

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Heirloom tomato plant
Credit: Bethane M. Evans

Tomatoes love calcium found in bone meal.  Ours thrive on organic mushroom compost!  Space far enough apart to accommodate the dense leaved branches that will need to be clipped as they reach a couple of feet tall.  This will allow direct sunlight ripen the fruit.  Dig holes deep enough to accommodate tomato plant atop additional compost.  Sprinkle in bone meal and gently break apart roots. 

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Preparing for planting
Bethane M. Evans

Fill in the hole and build-up with mushroom compost, watering well. 

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Tomatoes strategically planted in sunlight against a fence
Planting, growing, photography credit: Bethane M. Evans

If you reside in an area with voracious bunnies, you may want to give serious consideration to deer netting.  A little goes a long way and it is tricky to work with, but does a good job discouraging foraging wildlife from devouring your precious plants

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Deer netting protected young tomato plants
Photo credit: Bethane M. Evans

We lost our 29 transplanted seedlings, mowed down to the quick by ravenous rabbits!  Fortunately, tomato plants are strong and hunger for the nutrients provided in this rich, organic compost blend. 

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Wild rabbits
Photo by Bethane M. Evans

Just a few plants will yield many tomatoes to be enjoyed by all throughout the summer and into the next season.  I was still harvesting tomatoes and delivering baskets to our neighbors well into November a couple of years back. 

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“Black Krim” heirloom tomato harvest 2011
By Bethane M. Evans

All ages can participate in this growing activity that is so satisfying for the mind, body and soul.  Have a Happy Father’s Day!

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Therapeutic gardening
Credit: Bethane M. Evans

 

“Alsace-Mediterraneo” infused Veggie Quiche

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Full moon pie

It has been many moons since I have baked a quiche.  Not ever having been especially fond of cooking, quiches were easy, satisfying and the food du jour, soon becoming a staple in our early home together.  I actually phoned my now very-grown-daughter for tips preparing and baking quiche so as to ensure a successful outcome.   Recently logging onto the “Penzey’s Spice” Facebook group page inspired me with a photo of an asparagus quiche wafting across my screen.  I have been on a serious asparagus bender lately and wanting to take full advantage of this remarkable spring cleansing food, I am rejuvenated by modifying this quiche recipe.

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Artisanal recipes

Yes, I am promoting and consuming the creamy-cheesy-vegetable richness of this decadent delight with Crohn’s disease!  Whaaaaaa?  I know, right?  Well, there is a disclaimer.  When something is worth it, there is usually a disclaimer.  First and foremost: everything in moderation.  As I mentioned at the top of this manuscript, It has been many moons, precisely however many moons there are in a quarter of a century.

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Fresh basil

HOLY BASIL BATMAN the smell is absolutely intoxicating.  I can taste the air in anticipation of this practically illegal prescription.  The scent of the smoked Gouda melding with the tri-pepper blend and Herbes de Provence are enough to make me trip.  This is no flashback, my friend, this is a newly discovered way of eating what I want while being nutritionally beneficial AND taste beyond belief!  Now that I have tantalized your taste buds, I will share the culinary chemistry, outlining each wholesome ingredient working in concert with one another.

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“Proper food combining”

Proper food combining:  the theory behind this practice is what allows me to consume a multitude of foods while maintaining a healthful lifestyle with Crohn’s.   Quiche is mostly about all protein (meats) cheese and eggs. This is a crustless quiche recipe, therefore; the proteins are not neutralized by starches and breads creating an indigestible bolus that prohibits efficient absorption.

Quality matters:  The quality of all ingredients is essential to ensure freshness and patency.  Pasture raised eggs are the most wholesome and nutrient rich, making them more bioavailable.  Like eggs, dairy from local farms is not only fresh, but animal friendly, meaning the animal byproducts are NOT subjected to synthesized hormones and antibiotics that are dumped into the environment and ultimately consumed by everyone, clearly proving “less is more”.   Grass-fed organic cows produce milk that is unparalleled to anything most of us have ever experienced since WWII.  We still get a little wonky with respect to pasteurization in the U.S., however; if you are fortunate enough to know of those with Gentlemen (& Gentlewomen) farms, you may be privileged to enzyme intact foods which do not interfere with the digestive process.  For the rest of us who have compromised GI systems and conditions resulting from impaired digestion, there are digestive enzymes.  Never leave home without.

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Regional grated smoky cheeses

Breaking it down:  The cheese I chose is a sweet, smoked Gouda, melting like butter and broadening flavors with a familiar yet meatless smoky appeal.  Much of the lactic acid is removed during the curd washing process contributing to the characteristic mellow, sweetness.   Traditional cheeses like Lorraine, Emmenthaler, and Gruyere are of a similar quality and part of the globe from where quiche Lorraine originates.  Quiche consisted of meat, cream and egg, ironically featuring local cheeses following WWII.  This recipe is “Alsacienne” because it contains onions.  Onions have remarkable antimicrobial effects and grow readily.  Onions are a preferable vegetable to nightshades containing solanine, which interfere with enzymatic action causing inflammation.  While making French onion soup, I learned caramelizing  diced onion first enhances sweetness.  The heat breaks down the plant cellulose, softening both texture and flavor.  Onions are also a potent contrast to the powerful and pleasant chlorophyll filled asparagus.  This lively spring vegetable spearheads the season with its diuretic cleansing properties.  Lightly steamed prior to baking, asparagus continues to soften in the oven, allowing it to retain its nutritive value.  So far we have the necessary elements that make good food enjoyable; quality, consistency, texture and flavor.

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“Kitchen crusader” homegrown Herbes de Provence

Savory and herbs and everything nice:  There is a lot of leeway when preparing quiche.  I consume vegetables most so I prefer accompanying savory herbs.  This Alsacienne quiche lends itself to the savory “Herbes de Provence” blend, indigenous to the suggested area.  I grow and dry my own varieties of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, marjoram, dill and tarragon, using fresh when abundant and dried from the season before.  I speak of these “kitchen crusader” herbs often having historical and geographical significance from my heritage and for my health!  Whether I enhance or substitute my own, I keep a bulk quantity of the incomparably fresh Penzey’s Herbes de Provence on hand.  Another must-have Penzey’s blend is “California Seasoned Pepper”.  This colorful pepper and herb combination brighten all vegetables as well as the pallet.

The table is set with a ‘d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation’, the gastronomical backdrop behind this quiche.  Now I will serve this scrumptious recipe:

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“Crust-free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”

“Crust-Free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”

v  ½ lb. prepared fresh organic asparagus

v  1 small diced Spanish onion or equivalent in-season sweet Vidalia

v  5 beaten pasture raised eggs

v  8 oz. shredded smoked Gouda or 4 oz. of 2 cheeses each.

v  1/2 C. farm fresh milk & cream

v  1 Tbsp. Mediterranean sea salt capers

v  1Tbsp. Herbes de Provence

v  1 tsp. “Penzey’s California Seasoned Pepper” or tri-colored peppercorn blend

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Quiche ingredients

Bring eggs and measured dairy products to room temperature to ensure a puffy omelette-like consistency upon baking.  Gently steam asparagus spears.  Caramelize onion, if desired.  Beat eggs thoroughly, blending grated cheese(s) into the sunny mix.

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“Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne” process

Sprinkle in the herbs and spices of choice.  Line the bottom of a coated quiche dish or large pie plate with vegetables, dotting with the capers.  Pour the silky mixture over the prepared vegetable plate then bake in a preheated 375F oven for 35-40 minutes.

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Quiche is almost ready

Quiche is ready when your senses are imbued by the creamy custard and the surface bubbles with a soft, bronze coating.

I opted for the deep dish pie plate since the eggs rise in a souffle-like fashion.  I also add a dash of fresh ground nutmeg mace, suggesting a subtle sweetness and because it has become my traditional trademark!  Whatever you decide, make it your own and enjoy the process, the product and the gratification.

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Serving “Crust-free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”